Sir Bradley Wiggins’ debut as a competitive rower saw him deliver only a competent performance at the British Rowing Indoor Championships at the Lee Valley Velodrome. The former cyclist finished 21st out of 99 entrants in the 2km event in a time of 6m22s – 34s slower than Adam Neill who retained his title.
In the lead-up to the event, Wiggins was coached by double Olympic rowing champion James Cracknell. Speaking to The Telegraph this week, he said that a time of six minutes would be “ballsy for a first-timer but nowhere near the elite guys."
Rocking the Bjorn-Borg-gone-feral look, Wiggins faltered momentarily early on, thinking he had false started, but recovered quickly.
— Orla Chennaoui (@SkyOrla) December 9, 2017
He is unlikely to be happy with the result, having spurned the opportunity to compete in the ‘Masters’ event for 30-to-39-year-olds.
"I could've entered my age category and beat some bloke who works in Tesco's during the week," he said. "But to go up against British Olympians and try and get close to them, to see how close I can get to them, is a motivation in itself."
Referring to Wiggins’ profile, Cracknell said: “The most requested interview on Saturday won’t be any of the rowers. It will be Brad. And if I was the press officer for British Rowing, I would want to use him to attract young kids to the sport.”
Sadly, Wiggins is reported to have left the competition area without speaking to the awaiting media.
“He’ll be hurting a lot, but he won’t leave it like that. He doesn’t want to go out on failure,” Cracknell told The Guardian. “He’ll regard that as failing to achieve his target and he’ll make sure he comes back and does it better.”
Wiggins later tweeted:
Huge disappointment today! Upon hearing a call in the background, I thought the race had false started so I put my ore down. School boy error but hey we live & learn as my plan was 6.02. Fantastic experience racing with everyone, will come back 12 months stronger next year! pic.twitter.com/xCBaNXOORI
— Brad Wiggins (@SirWiggo) December 9, 2017